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Sahabie Rasul Sidi Okba ibn Nafi, Biskra-Algeria

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Published on Mar 25, 2012

Uqba ibn Nafi (Arabic: عقبة بن نافع‎ 'Uqbah ibn Nāfi', also referred to as Oqba ibn Nafi, Uqba bin Nafe, Uqba ibn al Nafia, or Akbah; 622--683) was an Arab hero and general who was serving the Umayyad dynasty, in Amir Muavia and Yazid periods, who began the Islamic conquest of the Maghreb, including present-day Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Morocco in North Africa. He was the nephew of 'Amr ibn al-'As. Uqba is often surnamed al-Fihri in reference to the Banu Fihri, a clan connected to the Quraysh. His descendants would be known as the 'Oqbids' or 'Fihrids'. Uqba is the founder of the cultural city of Kairouan in Tunisia.

Uqba accompanied Al-'As in his initial raids and capture of cities in North Africa starting with Barca, then proceeding to Tripolitania in 644 AD. In 670 now the emir or commander, Uqba led an Arab army to North Africa, crossing the Egyptian deserts, and setting up military posts at regular intervals along his route. In a region of what is now Tunisia, he established the town now called Kairouan (Kairwan or al Qayrawan, meaning "camp" or "caravanserai" in Persian) about 160 kilometres south of present-day Tunis, which he used as a base for further operations.

According to one legend, one of Uqba's soldiers stumbled across a golden goblet buried in the sands. It was recognized as one that had disappeared from Mecca some years before, and when it was dug out of the sand a spring appeared, with waters said to come from the same source as those of the sacred Zamzam Well in Mecca.[1] This story led to Kairouan becoming a place of pilgrimage, and then a holy city (the Mecca of the Maghreb) and the most important city in North Africa.

In 683 Uqba was ambushed and killed near Biskra by Kusaila. Ironically he died beside his hated rival Abu al-Muhajir Dinar, during the battle with Kusaila's troops. His armies evacuated Kairouan and withdrew to Barqa (though Kairouan was soon recaptured). His descendants can be found in the area stretching from the Lake Chad region to Mauritania's coast. The trans-sahel Arab tribe of "Kounta" traces its origins to Uqba, in Algeria, Tunisia and Libya some of his descendants are known as Ouled Sidi Ukba.

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